Tag Archives: residency

The Obscure Document Residency Programs Use to Decide If You’re Worthy

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The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (or dean’s letter) will be sent to all your potential employers. Let’s talk about what’s in it!

TL;DR

  • You may have heard of the dean’s letter. It’s sent to all residency programs, one of the things they’ll use to choose who to invite for an interview. But do you know what’s in it…and that it’s creation begins on your first day of med school?
  • YouTube announces blanket ban on vaccine misinformation, and axes the biggest misinformation peddlers.
  • Can The Short Coats pass the 2021 IgNobel Prize Winners Quiz?

Today’s episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, Member FDIC. Check out their PRN Personal Loans to help cover board exams or application costs, with decisions in as little as 24 hours and great interest rates!

To Dave, it sometimes feels like the process of medical education is as complex and opaque as the actual medical knowledge it works to impart to students. In this elaborate system, absolute transparency is difficult to achieve, but there’s one thing Dave thinks students should keep in the backs of their heads from day one: the medical student performance evaluation (MSPE, or ‘dean’s letter’). That’s because this document will be sent to all their future employers, including their residency programs. And those programs will use it (and other data applicants and colleges supply) to decide whether to invite you for an interview. Yet Dave has the impression that many don’t even know what’s in this important document–which includes comments from residents and attendings on their personal qualities and performance–until just before they begin to apply for residency! That’s a problem for some students who, upon reading it for the first time, find that there’s a pattern of behavior that they should have addressed long ago. Dave discusses what all students need to know about this important document.

Also, the 2021 IgNobel Prizes for improbable research have been awarded; YouTube bans all vaccine misinformation and the peddlers of bogus vax claims; and California begins using a controversial–but effective!–technique to help people who use drugs kick the habit: paying them to stay sober.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Lone Stars and Lawsuits : Will Texas’ unique Solution to Abortion stand?

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Texas thinks it’s finally found the solution to the abortion ‘problem.’ What will it cost them?

TL;DR

  • Now that Texas has conferred on its citizens the responsibility for enforcing it’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, what will be the effects?
  • The University of Iowa community protests alleged sex abuse in Greek life, but the movement is tearing itself apart.
  • We play a game to distract ourselves from all that stuff.

This episode is sponsored in part by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, member FDIC. Check out what a bank built by doctors for doctors and med students can offer!

reject photo

The big national news this week is Texas’ ban on abortion after six weeks. Such laws in other states have routinely been blocked at the Federal level as unconstitutional. But the Texas law is different–instead of giving its attorney general the responsibility for enforcing the new law (and thus, someone to block from enforcing it), Texas has given the power of enforcement to all citizens of the US, allowing anyone to sue in civil court anyone who aids and abets in an attempt to seek an abortion, for up to $10,000. In other words, there’s no one for the Federal government to sue to block the law. What will be the effects on medical education, especially residency training, in Texas?

Also, we discuss our own community’s struggle as a large group accuses a fraternity of creating an environment that encourages sex abuse. But the movement–like many large activist groups–seems to be eating itself as its members debate the methods it should use. Is property damage a viable way to send a message, or does it detract from the message?

And we play a game to distract ourselves from all that stuff.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Lone Stars and Lawsuits : Will Texas’ unique Solution to Abortion stand?

Table Rounds: Gamifying Med Ed, ft. Paulius Mui, MD

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How Gaming Can Help You Learn Medicine Better

TL;DR

  • Rote memorization is part of medical education, but drawing deeper connections between concepts is what makes you a physician.
  • Medical school emphasizes finding the correct answer, but when you begin to practice medicine you’ll find that the answers are much more complex than that.
  • Although moving from med school to residency can be scary–as with any transition–Paulius found it to be easier than he expected.

Dr. Paulius Mui is a first-year family medicine resident in Virginia, and a long-time listener (since before med school!). He wrote to Dave not long ago because he had published a game called Table Rounds. It’s a game he and his friends in med school had made up, and now he’s working to bring it into the world as an actual product.

Paulius sent Dave a copy of the game [for free, he’s not a sponsor. –Dave], and M1s AJ Chowdhury, Alex Belzer, Nolan Redetzke, and M4 Joyce Wahba play the game. Players use cards–each with a medical term or concept on it–to draw connections between them. The connections can be deep or they can be spurious, but if you can make your case you’re a winner. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a game that you can make your own, coming up with rules that make it even more interesting and helpful.

Paulius also gives his advice to Joyce, who’s about to start her residency in Emergency Medicine, and discusses his first-year as a resident beginning while the pandemic raged.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!


What an AI thinks we said

Continue reading Table Rounds: Gamifying Med Ed, ft. Paulius Mui, MD

Why Come to the US for Residency When Turkey has Pet Parks?

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istanbul photoTurkish listener Ali would like to come to the US for residency and to practice medicine someday, so he wrote to us to ask us what we knew about how that works.  Co-host Nadia Wahba happened to visit Turkey a while back and blew our minds by letting us in on a little secret: that in the city she visited, there are public parks full of well-cared-for pets you can visit and play with.

Also, Dave subjects the gang–which also includes MD/PhD student Miranda Schene, M2 Jenna Mullins, and M3 Brendan George–to a game of Great Minds Think Alike: Med School Edition.


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This Week in Medical News

A Florida resident calls the cops after they receive what the suspect is a box of Novel Coronavirus (now named Covid-19 by science) from China.  And how an AI alerted some agencies and businesses early to the pandemic, before it blew up and just a day after a now-deceased Chinese ophthalmologist tried to warn his med school classmates.

We Want to Hear From You

How are you? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!  We love you.

Continue reading Why Come to the US for Residency When Turkey has Pet Parks?

The Secondary Application: Bragging vs. Confidence

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How can you brag about yourself without bragging about yourself?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4773691/

We are taught from a  young age (most of us, anyway) not to brag.  It is better, we may sometimes hear, to show confidence.  Listener Rachel wrote in with a question about the secondary application: how does one confidently talk themselves up without coming across as a braggart?  Lucky for Rachel, we have Daniel Schnall from our admissions staff on hand to help Mark Moubarek, Kylie Miller, Aline Sandouk, and Gabe Conley with some great advice about how to sell yourself on your application and also back it up.  Don’t want to look like a chump?  Dan has your answer, Rachel.

Kylie had an excellent idea: med students are pressed for time, and nutrition can be one of those things they deep six in favor of studying.  Her thought: let’s make a cookbook for Med Student Success, and listeners can contribute!  Do you have a favorite recipe you use to keep your Kreb’s cycle in tip top shape?  Then submit the recipe so we all can benefit!  Comfort food, speedy prep, healthy living,  or whatever, we want to hear about it!  We’ll publish the results in some fashion, and everyone who contributes will get a free copy!

Plus, the group plays Doctor Forehead.  Do you know the terms and concepts Dave found in the news last week, and why they were even being talked about?

This Week in Medical News

Everyone knows ortho residents don’t get enough exercise.  Skinny, pale, weak, they’re practically collapsing under the weight of their own skin.  Which is why we’re relieved that someone took pity and created a peer reviewed(?) workout routine for them, using common materials found around the ortho workroom.  Get swole!  Is the NIH doing it’s job of funding innovative research and fostering research careers?  Doesn’t sound like it.  And the AMA goes all in on a call to ban the American Dream sale and ownership of assault weapons.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you a gun owner who feels like the AMA goes to far? Do you want advice and don’t want to pay for it?  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’ll talk about it.

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Night Float: Finding Mentors, Being a Mentor

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Mentorship–both giving and receiving–is a crucial part of being a resident

Keenan Laraway, MD
Keenan Laraway, MD

Short Coat Podcast veteran Keenan Laraway, MD (CCOM ’15, Internal Medicine), returns to the microphone to give his insights into one of the most important parts of residency–finding and being a mentor.  As you listen, note how much credit he gives to his mentors for their influence on him, and how much emphasis he gives to teaching medical students himself.  Medical residency (and undergraduate medical education, partially) operates on an apprenticeship model, in which the experience and advice of one’s colleagues is integral to one’s own development.  Seeking out those relationships is therefore vital.

Helpful links

AAMC Careers in Medicine – Careers in medicine is a resource designed to assist medical students in choosing a specialty and navigating the residency match process in a strategic way.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you have mentors to whom you turn for advice and example? Tell us about them at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Putting the Anxiety Cart Before the Horse

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Anxiety about your competitive specialty ambitions in your first year isn’t worth it.

anxiety photoListener Luis wrote in expressing his anxiety that his med school–which he’ll begin attending this fall–doesn’t have the prestige or programs to support his desire for a competitive specialty like ophthalmology.   If that’s the case, he wondered, what can he do to increase his chances of obtaining his dream career?  Fortunately for Luis, Irisa Mahaparn, Gabe Conley, Brendan George, Jason Lewis, and new co-host Andres Dajles were on hand to give Luis the advice and encouragement he needs…and a tiny dose of tough love, too.

Also, Dave indulges in his interest in tech startup culture by having his co-hosts pitch to him random product ideas for random people.

This Week in Medical News

Did an astronaut’s genetic code change after being in space?  Of course not.  Should med students upgrade their stupid brains with “cognitive prosthetic” implants?  Anything to pass that test!  Should Dave have his brain turned to glass when his stupid body is ready to kick it so he can be uploaded to the cloud someday?  Er…ask again later?

We Want to Hear From You

Would you get a chip in your head if it made you a better student?  Or is there a line you just won’t cross? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Putting the Anxiety Cart Before the Horse

Making Clerkships Work

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Are clerkships a grind, or a boon?  It’s up to you.

change photo
Photo by m.a.r.c.

The second-year students are moving from the pre-clinical curriculum to the clerkships this week.  This transition is exciting–after all, seeing patients is what they’ve come to medical school to do, and now it’s finally happening.

Pat Brau, Kylie MIller, Brady Campbell, and Levi Endelman discuss some of the things they’ve learned in their Transition to Clerkships week, and Dave has some advice for them on how to get the most out of clerkships and how to get good evaluations for their ‘dean’s letter’ that will make them shine for future residency directors.

This Week in Medical News

Of course, one thing that is helpful if you’re seeing a patient is being able to tell if they’re truly sick.  That becomes second nature at some point, but even lay people can do it.  That skill will come in handy for those in California who subscribe to the idea that raw water is a good idea.

We Want to Hear From You

Transitions are exciting and tough…what makes changes easy or harder for you? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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A Podcast for Iatroblasts: Ian Drummond’s “The Undifferentiated Medical Student”

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choices photoIan Drummond is a fourth-year student at Case Western.  When it came time to consider what specialty to go into, Ian realized he didn’t have the knowledge needed to make an informed choice. So he did what anyone would do: started a podcast in which he will interview physicians from all 120 medical specialties listed on the AAMC’s Careers in Medicine site.  Okay, not everyone would do that, but he did, and iatroblasts everywhere owe him a huge thank you.  Because while it is a massive undertaking for him, it is also super helpful to you!  Cole Cheney, Tarun Kadaru, Liza Mann, and Hillary O’Brien spoke with Ian to find out what he’s learning from his guests on The Undifferentiated Medical Student.  We also discuss the challenges and benefits of podcasting for busy med students.   Listeners, share your thoughts with us each week.  Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and see our Facebook page for a question to consider every Monday.

Continue reading A Podcast for Iatroblasts: Ian Drummond’s “The Undifferentiated Medical Student”

Recess Rehash: The Ultimate Taboo: Medicine and Suicide

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Photo by JoePenna

[With Thanksgiving late week, we didn’t record a new episode.  Enjoy this rerun, instead!]

Just hours before a new crop of medical students are to be welcomed into the world of medicine, Kaci McCleary, John Pienta, Aline Sandouk, Mark Moubarek, and Lisa Wehr confront one of the most uncomfortable topics in medical education: resident and student suicide.  Among doctors, suicide rates are much higher than among the general population.  The long hours, high pressure (from both one’s internal monologue and from outside sources) to succeed, fear of public humiliation regarding one’s shortcomings, isolation, inadequate supervision, the stigma against mental illness, the career penalties faced by those who admit to unwellness, and more, all contribute to the problem.  Institutions also have a difficult time addressing incidents of physician suicide effectively, as they try to walk a tightrope strung between respect for the privacy of the deceased, the needs of colleague survivors to talk about it, the desire to avoid adverse publicity.  Meanwhile, the work does not stop. The only breaks are a moment of silence, a visit with a grief counselor, or an “open forum” to discuss one’s feelings.

Fortunately, the culture may be changing to allow for more discussion, prevention, transparency. Institutions like the University of Iowa and Harvard University are adding counseling capacity, student groups to support struggling peers, and a greater openness to acknowledging without shaming the fact of mental illness among physicians.

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The opinions expressed in this feed and podcast are not those of the University of Iowa or the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine; nor do they reflect the views of anyone other than the people who expressed them.  If you have feedback on anything you hear on the show, positive or not, let us know.